How to turn ST watching into "an event" again?
Forget families, TV has splintered into niche tastes and the trend is towards more of the same in the future.
Here's my game plan for boosting Star Trek
's profile on the small screen (whether that means TV or laptops or iPads):
After the next movie is a big hit again in early summer, CBS announces a joint venture with Amazon or Netflix* to produce a new Star Trek
series to be shown both on CBS and streaming in the same model as Under the Dome
. This gives it the high profile of being on CBS without the need to justify its existence with 12M viewers. The difference will be made up by the streaming partner. Robert Orci is very likely to be the showrunner.
It will debut in a couple years, to coincide with the the third movie, meaning an early summer launch. This moves it out of the most competitive season for TV and places it during a time of year when CBS doesn't have much anyway. Streaming customers probably don't care what season anything launches.
The series will have some connection to the movies, to take advantage of shared PR. Maybe Quinto, Cho or Urban will be the lead character. Maybe a new character from the movies will be the lead (someone introduced in the third movie for that purpose?) Maybe the premise builds on a plot point from the movies (PS, if you want to discuss this more please code any movie spoilers, I've been hiding out from them for months and don't wanna blow it now.
Netflix or Amazon would get into a bidding war for Star Trek
. Their audience skews towards the early adopted tech crowd, which has a lot of overlap with Trek
fandom of course. It also signals to Hollywood that they are able to play with the big boys by getting a big brand. Netflix just sunk $100M into credibility-building with House of Cards
to prove that they can create popular content on par with HBO. Amazon is countering with one exclusive deal after another. They are definitely in battle mode, so let's take advantage of that!
*They may want to wait till later in the summer to see how Under the Dome
Interesting that when the 2009 movie came out, sales of boxed sets of all the previous ST series went through the roof. CBS Home Video found it hard to keep the sets in stock for a while.
The ability to boost the value of back catalog with a new series is a big factor in streaming. Netflix has all the Star Trek
series on streaming except ENT (not sure why that's missing, also not sure what Amazon has.)
When House of Cards
debuted, I noticed that the original House of Card
s got bumped to "popular on Netflix" at least for a few days, then it fell off. That shows that it makes sense for a streaming service to develop a new version of an existing show, or extend a franchise, because they boost the value of their existing streaming shows without needing to put any additional development into the old stuff. That's another argument in favor of Netflix and Amazon continuing existing series (like with Arrested Development
Also, if your goal is to lure in new subscribers, it really helps to have something else in the same line for the subscribers to watch after they're done bingeing on the new show. That's a crucial time when you need to keep them happy until the free trial runs out, so they will convert.